Thursday, January 22, 2009

Discpline in one minute?

I'm having a tough time with Omar. I'm sure I've never had any tough time with other kids, as tough as this one. He's just too much for me to bear - me, the one with very little patience. He would screamed if he didn't get anything that he wanted, he wants anything held/ eaten/ read/ written by his other siblings. Even if it's something that he is totally not capable of, i.e homework, PSP, online games, or even dialing a phone number. He just wanted to be like everybody else regardless of his limitation of being 2.5 years old. Forget about disciplining and explaining him about things. He's only two! This is what they term as "terrible two's". A two year old is the most difficult to handle! I never understood why they have this phrase before because I never see it in my three kids. I understand now. In fact, in Omar I can see a lot of things that I never knew what a two year old can do!

One of those days that I really thought that I need help on what to do with Omar and his tantrums, I stumbled upon an article on how to discipline your children in one minute. Regardless of the age! It doesn't really tell you how, but more on how you can strategise your actions, it's not on how to correct the child's misbehavior but rather the parents' reactions to it. Once you have the strategy, you will be in control of the situation.

Here's how it works ..
0 - 10 seconds : Act quickly
First thing, you have to remove the child from whatever's causing the problem and anything that is part of it. If there's a toy involved, remove the toy, if a place, take them away from there. If there's safety involved, make the situation safe, remove them from the danger immediately. In addition, you also need to separate yourself from the mess and the commotion so that you'll be less tempted to do or say something in anger that you'll regret later.
10 - 20 seconds : Calm down
You have to calm down. Instead of saying bad things to the child, you can just say "arghhhhh" just to let off your steam, and to ensure that the child is not belitte. Controlling your anger is important, it's OK to get angry but limit it. Shouting to the child will not help but you'll undermine what you're trying to teach because your child will pay attention to your intense emotion, not to the wrongdoing. Calming down will not only help you handle the situation but enable your child to hear you.
20-30 seconds : Assess the situation
When a child drew with a red ink on your yellow living room or your white couch, all he wanted is to draw. Thus you need to give him a paper immediately. Forget the wall or the couch. The damage is done. Knowing your child's intentions doesn't rescue the couch or the wall, of course, but it does put his behavior in a completely different light.
This is a Zen moment. To achieve it, you must separate the incident from all others like it in the past as well as those that might happen in the future. And when you look at the situation in the here and now, as a single event rather than a repeated offense, it's often not as serious an infraction as you originally thought.
This is also the moment to figure out where the behavior is coming from. "A 3-year-old who's having a tantrum may be hungry," "An 8-year-old who's a bear at breakfast may not be getting enough sleep." In either case, you have to reassess your role.
"Ask yourself whether there's something you need to do that will help prevent this behavior in the future, such as keeping off-limits items in a less accessible place or changing family routines,". In other words, don't say, "How many times have I told you . . . ?" Even if you think you've told your child something 100 times (which you haven't), it doesn't really matter. You need to tell her again and again, and yet again.

30-40 seconds : Talk to your child
Talk to your child of the consequences of his behavior. If you simply put a child in time-out, you're controlling her rather than making her responsible for managing her own behavior. Instead, "tell her why you don't want her to do something and what the real consequences are--not her punishment, but that the marker doesn't come off the walls, for example. Two or three sentences will do just fine." The younger the child, the fewer the words. Get down to her level, and look her in the eye. She needs to hear what she's done wrong and what would have been correct: "We don't draw on the walls--we draw on a piece of paper" or "You can't have a cookie--it's too close to dinner. You may have a carrot instead." Then let the issue drop. As soon as you let your child lure you into a discussion, you weaken the message. What if she has a valid objection? Talk about it later. In the heat of the moment, she's likely just pleading her case, not starting a real conversation.
40 - 50 seconds : Figure Out Whether a Consequence Is Needed
Many parents think that punishment is the heart of discipline, but most experts disagree. Consequences are necessary only when being consistent doesn't work. But it usually does. Four or five instances of simply taking the cookie out of the child's hand and saying, 'No sweets before dinner' will likely take care of the cookie-snatching behavior. Punishment is usually not the way to go. If the kids are throwing the ball in the house, by all means take the ball away--but they don't need to be punished. If the issue is something you care deeply about, reinforce your message later at a neutral time."
Consider consequences only for a few, carefully chosen misbehaviors--and only when your child repeatedly ignores your clear instructions. What's most effective is to let him experience the results of his actions: If he hits other children, he won't be able to join them for playtime.

50 - 60 Enforce the Consequence
If the motto of real estate is 'Location, location, location,' the motto of parenting is 'Consistency, consistency, consistency,'. The child's mind is completely logical, and it tells her, 'If Mom and Dad don't follow through, they don't mean it'. The idea is to have very few rules but to enforce them every single time. So don't make idle threats that you can't or won't carry out. You know what we mean: You're grounded for life; that's the last cookie you'll ever see; no playdates for a month. You'll not only upset your child but ultimately undermine your authority.
When all is said and done, the 60-Second Plan is very simple, but it does require a great deal of thought about your goals and an equal amount of self-control. Why is that important? Because good discipline is about much more than not throwing food on the floor and not writing on the furniture. You are conveying your values and showing you have the self-discipline that you're trying to teach your child.

This article was written based on points given by the following child/ parent experts:
Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D., author of The Secret of Parenting.
Bobbi Rosenquest, Ph.D., an associate professor of early-childhood education at Boston's Wheelock College
Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles
Denis Donovan, M.D., director of the Children's Center for Developmental Psychiatry, in St. Petersburg, Florida

So, have i tried all those? Yes indeed. It's just that it's not as easy as it seems. You have to be consistent, patient, and good at controlling your anger. Which are all NOT me! Hah! OK.. but I'm confident it works. I have succeeded in one or two occasions but consistencies failed me.

In the quest of being a "better parent" and trying to be in control.. I will have to work harder on this!

1 comment:

Yusni MJ said...

Consistency is a problem to many of us. The people who make it their life in whatever is consistent in their approach. Istiqamah is really hard work.

I think the 60 sec rules also can be applicable to adult interaction as well because some times grown ups also did stupid thing and offended other grown ups. But using your suggested method, we can have a time out to strategize our reflexes towards the situation rather than acting on an impulse which almost at all time make us regret the action at a later time.

Thanks for the tips.